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Soccer Wire: U.S. MNT Storms Past Cuba, Set to Face Brazil on Wednesday


U.S. MNT CRUSHES CUBA 5-0, MEETS BRAZIL ON WED. AT 8 P.M. ET LIVE ON GALAVISION:  The U.S. Men’s National Team continued to storm through its regional foes last week to advance to the semifinals of the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup, where they will face a young Brazil squad on Wednesday (July 23) at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla., live on Galavision at 8 p.m. ET. After dispatching El Salvador 2-0 in their opener on July 12, the U.S. downed Martinique 2-0 on a pair of goals scored by forward Brian McBride and assisted by midfielder Steve Ralston to win Group C. In their quarterfinal match-up, the U.S. MNT used a dominating four-goal performance from forward Landon Donovan and a strike from Ralston to crush Cuba 5-0 in the team’s third and final match at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. Should the U.S. defeat Brazil, they would meet the winner of the other semifinal between Mexico and Costa Rica, which will be played on Thursday (July 24) at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City live on Galavision at 10 p.m. CT. The Final is set for Sunday (July 27) at Azteca at 1 p.m. ET live on Univision, while the Third Place Match will be on Saturday (July 26) at the Orange Bowl live on Galavision at 8 p.m. ET.
U.S. MNT Gold Cup Results / Schedule
Date: Opponent - Result (U.S. Goal Scorers)
July 12: El Salvador - 2-0 W (Lewis, McBride)
July 14: Martinique - 2-0 W (McBride (2))      
July 17: Cuba - 5-0 W (Donovan (4), Ralston)
Date: Opponent - Venue; City - Kickoff (TV)
July 23: Brazil - Orange Bowl; Miami, Fla. - 8 p.m. ET (Galavision)
July 26: Third Place* - Orange Bowl; Miami, Fla. - 8 p.m. ET (Galavision)
July 27: Final* - Azteca Stadium; Mexico City, Mexico - 1 p.m. ET (Univision)
* if necessary

KELLER REACHES SHUTOUT MILESTONE, BREAKS MEOLA'S CAREER MARK: U.S. goalkeeper Kasey Keller, who began his U.S. Men's National Team career back in 1990, established a career milestone last week with a pair of shutouts that increased his career total to 33, breaking Tony Meola's career shutout mark of 32. With 65 career caps, Keller has recorded a shutout in just over 50 percent of his MNT games, an amazing ratio considering Meola recorded his 32 shutouts in 99 career games.  Perhaps more impressively, Keller is currently in the midst of a streak of 22 consecutive domestic appearances without a defeat, compiling a 18-0-4 record during that stretch.

USA TO FACE SWEDEN, NIGERIA AND NORTH KOREA IN GROUP A PLAY ON EAST COAST: At the Final Draw for the FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003  last week at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., the U.S. Women’s National Team learned last week that its opening round in Group A are Sweden, Nigeria and Korea DPR (North Korea). The top-ranked U.S. WNT will open Group A play against the No. 5 team in the world, Sweden, on Sept. 21 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Following that game, the U.S. will play matches against Nigeria on Sept. 25 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia and against North Korea on Sept. 28 at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Should the U.S. advance to the quarterfinals, the team will play one of the top two teams from Group B at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., on Wednesday, Oct. 1. Both semifinals will be played at PGE Park in Portland, Ore., on Sunday, Oct. 5, while the final and third place match will be played as stand alone games on Oct. 11 and Oct. 12, respectively, at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. In the rest of the draw, the other teams ranked in the top four in the FIFA Women’s World Ranking –Norway, Germany and China – were given top seeds in the other three groups. Joining Norway in Group B are Brazil, France and South Korea. Joining Germany in Group C are Canada, Japan and Argentina. And finally, in Group D with China are Ghana, Russia and Australia. The top two teams in Group C and D will face each other in the quarterfinals at PGE Park.
FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003 – Groups
Group A: USA, Sweden, Nigeria, North Korea
Group B: Norway, Brazil, France, South Korea
Group C: Germany, Canada, Japan, Argentina
Group D: China, Ghana, Russia, Australia
FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003 – U.S. WNT Schedule
Date: Opponent - Venue; City         Kickoff
Sept. 21: Sweden - RFK Stadium; Washington, D.C. - 12:30 p.m. (ET)
Sept. 25: Nigeria - Columbus Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio - 7:30 p.m. (ET)
Sept. 28: Korea DPR - Lincoln Financial Field; Philadelphia, Pa. - 3:45 p.m. (ET)
Oct. 1: Quarterfinals* - Gillette Stadium; Foxboro, Mass. - 4:30 / 7:30 p.m. (ET)
Oct. 5: Semifinals* - PGE Park; Portland, Ore. - 4:30 / 7:30 p.m. (PT)
Oct. 11: Third Place* - The Home Depot Center; Carson, Calif. - 12:30 p.m. (PT)
Oct. 12: Final* - The Home Depot Center; Carson, Calif. - 10 a.m. (PT)
*if necessary

– FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP USA 2003 UPDATE –

USA TOPS FIRST EVER FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD RANKING: The U.S. Women's National Team, winners of the FIFA Women's World Cup 1991 and 1999, and Olympic gold medallists in 1996, were officially named the top team in the world in the first edition of the FIFA Women's World Rankings, announced last week by FIFA at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. FIFA has ranked men's national teams for ten years, but unveiled its first women's rankings last week to coincide with the Final Draw for the FIFA Women's World Cup USA 2003 on July 17. The World Ranking is determined on the basis of a performance rating that takes into account numerous factors such as results, home advantage, importance of each match and the difference in the strength of the two teams involved.  Calculated and managed by FIFA in collaboration with international sports information provider Infostrada Sports, the ranking will appear four times each year. The next FIFA Women's World Ranking will be published on August 29, 2003. The inaugural ranking was calculated using a comprehensive database of over 3,000 matches played between 1971 and the present.
FIFA Women's World Ranking
Rank: Country (Points)
1. USA (2,169)
2. Norway (2,159)
3. Germany (2,152)
4. China (2,110)
5. Sweden (2,073)
6. Brazil (2,036)
7. North Korea (2,004)
8. Denmark (1,967)
9. France (1,963)
10. Italy (1,943)
 
FIFA ANNOUNCES KICKOFF TIMES FOR ALL 32 WWC MATCHES: One day after the Final Draw that placed the 16 teams into four groups of four, FIFA announced the kickoff times for all 32 matches of the FIFA Women's World Cup USA 2003. The complete schedule is below:
Group A
No.    Date              Match-up               Venue                        Kickoff (ET)
  2      Sept. 20        NGA vs. PRK        Lincoln Financial        2:45 p.m. 
  5      Sept. 21        USA vs. SWE        RFK Stadium            12:30 p.m. 
13      Sept. 25        SWE vs. PRK        Lincoln Financial        4:45 p.m. 
14      Sept. 25        USA vs. NGA        Lincoln Financial        7:30 p.m. 
21      Sept. 28        SWE vs. NGA       Crew Stadium           1 p.m. 
22      Sept. 28        PRK vs. USA        Crew Stadium            3:45 p.m. 
Group B
No.    Date              Match-up               Venue                        Kickoff (ET)
  1      Sept. 20        NOR vs. FRA        Lincoln Financial        12 p.m. 
  6      Sept. 21        BRA vs. KOR        RFK Stadium            3:15 p.m.
  9      Sept. 24        NOR vs. BRA        RFK Stadium            5 p.m. 
10      Sept. 24        FRA vs. KOR        RFK Stadium            7:45 p.m. 
17      Sept. 27        KOR vs. NOR       Gillette Stadium         12:45 p.m. 
19      Sept. 27        FRA vs. BRA         RFK Stadium            12:45 p.m. 
Group C
No.    Date              Match-up              Venue                        Kickoff (ET)
  3      Sept. 20        GER vs. CAN       Crew Stadium            5:45 p.m. 
  4      Sept. 20        JPN vs. ARG         Crew Stadium            8:30 p.m. 
11      Sept. 24        GER vs. JPN         Crew Stadium            5:45 p.m. 
12      Sept. 24        CAN vs. ARG       Crew Stadium            8:30 p.m. 
18      Sept. 27        CAN vs. JPN        Gillette Stadium          3:30 p.m. 
20      Sept. 27        ARG vs. GER        RFK Stadium            3:30 p.m. 
Group D
No.    Date              Match-up              Venue                         Kickoff (PT)
  7      Sept. 21        AUS vs. RUS        Home Depot Center    5:30 p.m. 
  8      Sept. 21        CHN vs. GHA       Home Depot Center    8:15 p.m.      
15      Sept. 25        GHA vs. RUS        Home Depot Center    4:15 p.m. 
16      Sept. 25        CHN vs. AUS        Home Depot Center   7 p.m. 
23      Sept. 28        GHA vs. AUS        PGE Park                  5:15 p.m.
24      Sept. 28        RUS vs. CHN        PGE Park                  8 p.m. 
Quarterfinals
No.    Date            Match-up                Venue                        Kickoff (local)
25      Oct. 1         1st B vs. 2nd A        Gillette Stadium          4:30 p.m. ET
26      Oct. 1         1st A vs. 2nd B        Gillette Stadium          7:30 p.m. ET
27      Oct. 2         1st C vs. 2nd D        PGE Park                  4:30 p.m. PT
28      Oct. 2         1st D vs. 2nd C        PGE Park                  7:30 p.m. PT
Semifinals
No.     Date          Match-up                Venue                        Kickoff (PT)
29      Oct. 5        W25 vs. W27          PGE Park                  4:30 p.m.
30      Oct. 5        W26 vs. W28          PGE Park                  7:30 p.m.
Third Place / Final
No.    Date          Match-up                 Venue                        Kickoff (PT)
31      Oct. 11      L29 vs. L30            Home Depot Center   12:30 p.m.
32      Oct. 12      W29 vs. W30         Home Depot Center   10 a.m.

– 2003 LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP UPDATE –

U.S. OPEN CUP THIRD ROUND CONCLUDES THIS WEEK: After six games were played last week, the final two third-round matches of the 2003 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will take place in the next two days. The Fresno Fuego (PDL) travel to El Paso to take on the Patriots (A-League) on Tuesday (July 21) at 7:30 p.m. MT. Then on Wednesday (July 23), in one of the most anticipated matches of the tournament to this point, the Milwaukee Bavarians (USASA) take on Milwaukee Wave United (A-League) at 7:30 p.m. CT. In third round action that was played on July 16, both MLS teams advanced, while the Wilmington Hammerheads pulled off an upset to become the last team from the United Soccer League's Pro Select League to remain alive. By defeating the A-League’s Atlanta Silverbacks 2-1 in Wilmington, N.C., the team clinched $10,000 in prize money as the team from Division III to advance the deepest into the tournament. The PDL’s Mid Michigan Bucks gave the MetroStars a run for their money in front of a crowd of 4,010 fans at Hurley Field in Berkley, Mich., before giving up three late goals and falling 4-0. In the other games, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds (A-League) fell 2-1 to D.C. United, the Virginia Beach Mariners (A-League) topped the Carolina Dynamo (USL-PSL) 5-0, the Seattle Sounders went on the road to steal a 1-0 win from the Minnesota Thunder, and the Rochester Raging Rhinos topped the New Hampshire Phantoms (USL-PSL) for their 13th Open Cup win, tying them with the Columbus Crew for the most since MLS teams joined the tournament in 1996. For complete coverage of the 2003 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, log on to the “Competitions” section at ussoccer.com.
Third Round Results
11: Seattle Sounders (A-League) 1, Minnesota Thunder (A-League) 0
12: Pittsburgh Riverhounds (A-League) 1, D.C. United (MLS) 2
14: Atlanta Silverbacks (A-League) 1, Wilmington Hammerheads (USL-PSL) 2
15: Carolina Dynamo (USL-PSL) 0, Virginia Beach Mariners (A-League) 5
17: MetroStars (MLS) 4, Mid Michigan Bucks (PDL) 0
18: New Hampshire Phantoms (USL-PSL) 1, Rochester Raging Rhinos (A-League) 4

Third Round Schedule
No. Match-Up    Venue, City    Date    Time
13: Fresno Fuego (PDL) at El Paso Patriots (A-League) - Dudley Stadium, El Paso, Texas - July 22/7 p.m. CT
16: Milwaukee Bavarians (USASA) at Milwaukee Wave United (A-League) - Uilhein Soccer Park, Milwaukee, Wisc. - July 23/7:30 p.m. CT

Fourth Round Schedule
No. Match-Up - Venue, City - Date (Time)
19: San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) at Seattle Sounders (A-League) - TBD - Aug. 5 (7:30 p.m. PT)
20: Virginia Beach Mariners (A-League) at D.C. United (MLS) - TBD - Aug. 6 (TBD)
21: Game 13 Winner at Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) - Home Depot Center; Carson, Calif. - Aug. 6 (7 p.m. PT)
22: Dallas Burn (MLS) at Wilmington Hammerheads (USL-PSL) - TBD - Aug. 6 (7:30 p.m. ET)
23: Kansas City Wizards (MLS) at Colorado Rapids (MLS) - Invesco Field; Denver, Co. - Aug. 6 (7:30 p.m. MT)
24: Chicago Fire (MLS) at Game 16 Winner - TBD - Aug. 6 - (7:30 p.m. CT)
25: MetroStars (MLS) at Columbus Crew (MLS) - Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio - Aug. 6 (7:30 p.m. ET)
26: Rochester (A-League) at New England (MLS) - Lusitano Stadium; Ludlow, Mass. - Aug. 6 (7:30 p.m. ET)

– U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE –

U.S. UNDER-21 WNT OPENS NORDIC CUP WITH 1-0 WIN OVER DENMARK: Looking to win an unprecedented fifth consecutive Nordic Cup championship, the U.S. Under-21 Women’s National Team opened the eight-team competition with a 1-0 win over Denmark today, with forward Lindsay Tarpley providing the heroics in the 87th minute by pouncing and converting a rebound from a 25-yard blast by midfielder Carli Lloyd, who had come in the game in the 80th minute. The USA will continue Group A play with a match against Iceland on Wednesday (July 23) and Norway on Friday (July 25) before finishing with a placement match on Sunday (July 27) against one of the teams from Group B, which features Sweden, Germany, Finland and the full Greek Women’s National Team.
U.S. U-21 WNT Results / Schedule – 2003 Nordic Cup
Date: Opponent - Result (U.S. Goal Scorers)
July 21: Denmark - 1-0 W (Tarpley)
July 23: Iceland
July 25: Norway
July 27: Placement Match
Group A Standings
Teams        W     L     T     Pts GF  GA GD
USA           1     0     0     3      1     0      +1
Norway      0     0     1     1      1     1      0
Iceland       0     0     1     1      1     1      0
Denmark    0     1     0     0      0     1      -1
 
UNDER-20 MNT GATHERS IN HOUSTON FOR USASA SOCCER FESTIVAL: The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team will travel to Houston, Texas this week to participate in the USASA Soccer Festival from July 25-Aug. 2. The tournament will be the first time the team has played a match since early March when it took second in the Madeira International Tournament in Portugal. The U-20s will kick-off the tournament against USASA Midwest on Sunday (July 27), before taking on three international teams. The U.S. will face El Salvador on July 29, then Honduras on July 31, and finish the tournament against Canada on Aug. 2. Head coach Thomas Rongen has brought in a 21-man roster for the tournament.
U.S. Under-20 MNT Roster – USASA Soccer Festival 2003
GOALKEEPERS (2):
Steve Cronin (Santa Clara University), Ford Williams (UNC);
DEFENDERS (6): Ryan Cochrane (Santa Clara University), Jordan Harvey (UCLA), C.J. Klaas (University of Washington), Chad Marshall (Stanford University), Drew Moor (Furman University), Pearce Heath (University of Portland);
MIDFIELDERS (7): Ricardo Clark (MetroStars), Bobby Convey (D.C. United), Clint Dempsey (Furman University), Ned Grabavoy (Indiana University), Justin Mapp (Chicago Fire), Justin Moose (Wake Forest University), Jordan Stone (Dallas Burn);
FORWARDS (6): Arturo Alvarez (San Jose Earthquakes), Devin Barclay (D.C. United), Knox Cameron (University of Michigan), Eddie Johnson (Dallas Burn), Mike Magee (MetroStars), Santino Quaranta (D.C. United).
U.S. U-20 MNT Schedule – USASA Soccer Festival 2003
Date: Opponent
July 27: USASA Midwest
July 29: El Salvador
July 31: Honduras
Aug. 2: Canada

U-18 MNT TIES POLAND, FALLS TO PORTUGAL AT NORTHERN IRELAND MILK CUP: After opening the Northern Ireland Milk Cup with a 1-1 tie with Poland, the U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team fell 1-0 to Paraguay today. Forward Danny Karbassiyoon (Roanoke, Va.) scored the team’s lone goal in the Poland match in the 52nd minute off an assist from forward Chad Barrett (Beaverton, Ore.). The U-18s will rebound to play Scotland on Wednesday (July 23) before finishing the tournament with a placement game on Friday (July 25).
U.S. U-18 MNT Results / Schedule
Date: Opponent - Result (U.S. Goal Scorers)
July 19: Poland - 1-1 T (Karbasiyoon)
July 21: Paraguay - 0-1 L
July 23: Scotland     
July 25: Placement Match

U-17 MEN FINISH HDC CAMP WITH 4-0 WIN OVER AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF SPORT: The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team concluded its week-long training camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., with a 4-0 win over the Australian Institute of Sport today. Forwards Freddy Adu and Jamie Watson both notched a goal and an assist to fuel the U.S. attack. The match was the second against AIS for the U-17 MNT, as the two teams battled to a 0-0 draw on Friday afternoon (July 19). The players will go home for the week before meeting in Bradenton, Fla. for two days of training (July 28 and 29) and then travel to Manchester, England to play four preparation matches for the FIFA U-17 World Championship in Finland. After the four matches, the team will travel to Lahti, Finland and have a week of training before its first game against the Korea Republic on Aug. 14.
U.S. U-17 MNT Results
Date: Opponent - Result (U.S. Goal Scorers)
July 19: A.I.S. - 0-0 T
July 21: A.I.S. - 4-0 W (Adu, Watson, Gaven, DiRaimondo)

U-17 WOMEN TO FACE MEXICO U-19s, REGIONAL TEAMS AT USASA SOCCER FESTIVAL: The U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team will gather for just their fourth camp of the year as they travel to Houston, Texas this week to compete in the USASA Soccer Festival. The U-17 Women, who are a perfect 4-0 in 2003, will begin and end the competition with matches against the Under-19 WNT of Mexico on July 28 and Aug. 2, respectively, with games against all-star teams from USASA West (July 30) and USASA South (Aug. 1) in between.
U.S. U-17 WNT Schedule – USASA Soccer Festival 2003
Date: Opponent
July 28: Mexico U-19s
July 30: USASA West
Aug. 1: USASA South
Aug. 2: Mexico U-19s

- U.S. SOCCER SPOTLIGHT -

PEAK PERFORMER: U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Steve Ralston is making the most of his spot on the Gold Cup roster, contributing two goals and three assists to help the U.S. advance to the tournament quarterfinals with a perfect 3-0 record at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., where he’s an MLS All-Star for the N.E. Revolution. After serving up two perfect assists for forward Brian McBride in a 2-0 win over Martinique on July 14, the 29-year-old playmaker tacked on a goal and assist in the USA’s 5-0 rout of Cuba on July 19. Before appearing in the USA’s 4-0 win over Canada in the first match of the year back on January 18, Ralston had not appeared for the U.S. since a 1-1 tie with Ireland on June 6, 2000, also played in Foxboro.

MARQUEE MATCH-UP: Less than a month ago, the U.S. Men’s National Team met Brazil in the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup and succumbed 1-0 due to a costly defensive error. But this time around, the playing field is tipped in favor of the U.S., as the Gold Cup roster is loaded with World Cup veterans like Kasey Keller, Brian McBride and Claudio Reyna. Brazil, on the other hand, features a collection of Under-23 players after their top team failed to advance out of the opening round of a tournament for the first time in over 20 years. The USA will be looking for its first victory over Brazil since the 1-0 win at the ’98 Gold Cup in Pasadena, and manager Bruce Arena will be looking for his first career win over the world champions, having lost 1-0 to the Samba Kings at the 1999 Confederations Cup and in a friendly in Pasadena in 2001. The USA-Brazil battle is set for Wednesday (July 23) live on Galavision at 8 p.m. ET and ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips.

SOCCER SHOCKER:  Could the U.S. Women have gotten a tougher draw? While they avoided dark horses like Canada, Brazil and France, the U.S. will have to face three of the top teams in the world – Sweden (ranked #5 in the world), Nigeria (ranked #23) and North Korea (ranked #7) – just to get out of Group A. If they do advance, they will likely have to get past one of two tournament favorites from Group B in the likes of ’95 WWC champs and 2000 Olympic gold medalist Norway (ranked #2) and ’99 WWC and 2000 Olympic third place finisher Brazil (ranked #6).  China (ranked #3), the original 2003 WWC host, appears to have the easiest road, facing Ghana, Russia and Australia in Group D opening round play.

QUOTABLE: "There is without question an increase not just in the ability of American footballers, but the credibility. If England and Scotland were going to be playing the United States tomorrow, I wouldn't put a penny on England or Scotland. The level the United States are playing is very, very high now."
        --Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, on the state of soccer in the USA (Associated Press)

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